How Does Your Garden Grow?


In my meanderings through the online newspapers this past weekend this headline caught my attention:

For Disabled Veterans Gardening Is Therapy

I was intrigued. The link took me to the web page of The State, South Carolina’s newspaper’s Homepage and a story about disabled veteran, Mike Steward.

Mike has a spinal cord injury and considered ending his life once. But gardening has changed all that. He says that gardening has given him a sense of accomplishment.

After seeing a dying tomato plant refreshed by rain Mike had an idea to convert an unproductive piece of land at Fort Jackson into a garden.

Dwight Blue, a veteran in charge of special projects for soldiers at Fort Jackson took the project on and, today it is “a gathering spot for disabled veterans who water and nurture, harvest and share.”

The garden has waist high raised beds and is crisscrossed with cement paths wide enough to accommodate wheelchairs. Up to fifteen veterans work the garden and there is a waiting list of people wanting to help.

You can read the entire article by clicking this link: The State.

From my own experience in the garden I know for me it is therapeutic. Watching something I planted and nurtured grow, thrive, and bloom is magical, mysterious, and mystical.

But I had never heard of gardening being used for therapy. So I did a Google .  I WASHOCKED!!!  There were 61,000,000 results!!!  I discovered that gardening has been used for therapy at least forty years.

There is even a book, Gardens for the Senses: Gardening As Therapy on this very topic. Another book added to my never ending list of “Must Reads.”

The Editorial Review at (link above) has this to say this about this book and about gardening:

The garden can be a place of healing, a place where everyone can be accepted, where stress can be lost and peace discovered. In this book Hank Bruce introduces the field of horticultural therapy and describes the garden as a powerful place of renewal and connection.


The garden is non-judgmental, the garden is patient, the garden is always there to reveal daily discoveries of sight, fragrance, texture, taste and sound. Other senses are highlighted: sense of place, sense of comfort, sense of beauty, sense of being, and sense of purpose.

A search through about 20 of the 61,000,000 articles, I found out that therapeutic gardening helps the depressed, those with ADD, prisoners, those with disabilities among others. And now our veterans. Not to mention us ordinary folk too. This is a beautiful win-win situation.

Gardening may be the perfect antidote to Recessionary Blues as well. Even if it is only a single pot on a window sill, gardening can be theraputic. Bring on the dirt!!

When nothing seems to be going  right having a garden to tend to is one of the greatest therapies available. And during this recession a garden can be both a source of beauty with flowers, and/or a source of some extra food such as inexpensive tomatoes and lettuce for our tables.

Here’s to playing in the dirt!!!!

Featured Recipe           Mushroom Swiss Hamburgers

Can’t be this close to the Fourth of July and not do a hamburger recipe. This recipe can be made on the grill, broiled, or in a skillet on the stove.

As some of you may remember from a post I did over a year ago, I generally do not eat hamburgers on a bun. In fact, the tile of the post was, It’s Not the Burger, It’s the Bun. Meaning it is the bun that makes us gain weight more than the burger itself. The same holds true today with this recipe.

I love Mushroom Swiss Hamburgers. They are probably my favorite hamburger.

This is what you will need for 3 people:

1¼ pound ground chuck

½ onion

7-10 mushrooms

3 slices of Baby Swiss cheese

1-2 shakes of Worcestershire sauce – optional

1-2 dashes garlic powder – optional

1-2 teaspoons olive oil

2-4 tablespoons butter


NOTE: I was able to use up some left over onions in this recipe.

Here is what you do:

Since it does not take long to cook the burgers, start with the onions and mushrooms.

Cut the onion into thin slices.

Add to a pan with about 1 teaspoon of each olive oil and butter and sauté till they start to brown.

Clean and slice the mushrooms. Set aside.

Place the ground chuck in a bowl and, if using, add a dash or two of both Worcestershire sauce and garlic powder. If not, skip this step.

Gently AND LIGHTLY mix into the chuck. DO NOT OVER WORK THE CHUCK.

Then separate the meat into thirds.

Then again gently and with out over working or squeezing the chuck form into 3 loose meatballs.

Then using the heel of your hand gently flatten the meatball into a patty about one-half inch to three-fourth inches thick. Again, do not overwork the meat.

With your thumb make an indentation in the center of the hamburger. Some what hard to see in these pictures, but if you look closely you can see it, especially in the picture of all 3 hamburgers. This indentation helps the burger to cook more evenly.

If you want you can add some salt and pepper at this time.

Melt about a teaspoon of butter with a teaspoon of olive oil over high heat. Add the burgers and leave them alone for 3 minutes. Do not turn them. Do not flatten them. Just let them cook.

While the burgers are cooking add the mushrooms to the onions which by now should have started to nicely brown.

When three minutes are up, turn the hamburgers and let cook 4 minutes.

I use Bobby Flay’s cooking times. You can find it by clicking the following link: Bobby Flay. He has times for grills as well as skillets. It is very useful.

Again, leave the burgers alone. Do not flatten them. Just let them cook.

Check on the onions and mushrooms. They should be about ready.

When the four minutes is up, add a piece of cheese to the top of each burger, cover with a lid or aluminum foil for about 30-40 seconds, or until the cheese is melted.

When the cheese has melted add some of the onion-mushroom mixture to the top of each hamburger.

Place on a bun or a plate and serve. What did I eat with my bunless hamburger?

Pretty and colorful, isn’t it? Remember my posts a few months back about the benefits of a colorful diet.  See Food Color & Eat Rainbow.

This plate certainly meets those criteria. And it was very filling. Even without the bun!!

Bon Appetite!!!


1¼ pound ground chuck                    $4.63

½ onion                                           $0.33

7-10 mushrooms                               $0.84

3 slices Baby Swiss cheese                 $0.69

1-2 shakes Worcestershire                 $0.04             

1-2 dashes garlic powder                   $0.03

1-2 teaspoons olive oil                       $0.26

2-4 tablespoons butter                      $0.60

Total cost = $7.42
Cost per person = $2.47


Quote of the Day

A hamburger by any other name costs twice as much.

Evan Esar


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1 comment to How Does Your Garden Grow?

  • I can’t choose which half of your post I like best. I had never done any research on garden therapy but at my last house I had 16 raised garden beds, a big potting shed, a shade house and a big “chook” yard and coop for 16 chickens. There is NOTHING in my life (other than being on a boat in the middle of the great barrier reef) that is more relaxing than watching chickens peck the heck out of slugs you toss from the garden. My girls got so used to me coming up at 4pm every afternoon in the summer to take them for a stroll in the grass that they’d line up about 3:45 and wait for me. Because of the threat of foxes I couldn’t leave them out without standing guard.

    It’s really hot and dry in southern Australia in the summer and we lost one girl due to the heat. I fixed that by putting an evaporative cooler outside the coop. No more stressed chickens.

    I visited Michael Ruhlman’s blog yesterday about hamburgers and I think I’m going to start grinding my own. Just for fun and as an excuse to buy a grinder. 🙂 This burger looks delicious and I love that you served it with fruit and berries. Yum.